Falcons: Important details in Kirk Cousins contract revealed

Kirk Cousins Falcons Penix

Because the Falcons went out and drafted Michael Penix Jr. 8th overall, it already has media pundits talking about potential outs when it comes to Kirk Cousins, who they handed a four-year contract worth $180 million less than two months ago with $100 million in guarantees and a $50 million signings bonus.

For folks wondering about a potential out if Cousins’ doesn’t heal properly from his torn Achilles, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk recently confirmed that is not apart of the contract.

Per a source with knowledge of the terms, Cousins’s $50 million signing bonus requires the passing of a physical but specifically excludes the pre-existing Achilles injury — “provided Player continues to rehabilitate such pre-existing Right Achilles injury as required by and under the supervision and direction of Club’s Head Team Physician and Club’s Head Athletic Trainer.”

The Falcons are on the hook for that $50 million and then some, as long as Kirk Cousins continues to follow the orders of team doctors.

Most likely, Cousins will be in Atlanta for at least two years, but if Penix impresses and Cousins struggles coming off injury, the Falcons could technically move off of him via trade next offseason. The move would come with $37.5 million in dead cap, but it would save the Falcons from another $37.5 million in future guarantees. Atlanta might also be more willing to swallow that pill, given Penix will be on a rookie contract.

However, there’s one possible scenario where Kirk Cousins never even takes a snap for the Falcons, as Florio notes.

There’s also a slim chance that the Falcons could trade Cousins before the start of the 2024 season. If Penix lights it up in OTAs, if another team loses a starting quarterback before the regular season starts, and if that team and Cousins decide to get together, a trade after June 1, 2024 would have the same cap effect as a trade before June 1, 2025. And with $12.5 million of the Cousins signing bonus due in September 2024 and another $12.5 million due in December 2024, the new team could agree to pay the money.

A situation this unthinkable might be the most Falcons thing ever, but they brought this kind of speculation on themselves when they drafted Michael Penix Jr. What if Penix does come in and light it up, proving he’s ready now to start, and a quarterback injury occurs elsewhere during training camp, leaving a contender in need of a proven veteran signal caller? Why wait for the future when the future has already arrived?

Arthur Blank may feel like a fool. He would have been better off just burning $50 million at the 50-yard line of Mercedes Benz Stadium. However, if Penix is indeed that good, the embarrassment won’t last for long.

Again, these scenarios may not be likely, but these are the kind of conversations we are already having just one week after drafting Michael Penix Jr. and before Kirk Cousins has even taken a snap. A situation that can only seem normal to an organization like the Atlanta Falcons.

Photographer: Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire

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